UPDATE (11:55 AM) — McGill-Toolen Catholic High School paints over the Confederate flag with the State flag of Alabama.
The full release can be read below:
At McGill-Toolen Catholic High School, on the terrazzo tile floor of the lobby of the McGill Building, there is a depiction of the boundaries of the Archdiocese of Mobile, as they existed in 1954. On the ceiling, surrounding a large circular light is a mural containing a symbol of the City of Mobile, the center of the of the Archdiocese. The painting was inspired by the Seal of the City of Mobile, which for many years contained six flags which have flown over our city, including the U.S., British, Spanish, French, and Confederate flags.
Because the Confederate flag has become such a polarizing symbol, offensive to many, we have considered what should be done to the mural in the school lobby. One artistic suggestion seemed appropriate to us – simply paint over the Confederate flag with the sixth flag which was part of the Seal of the City, namely, the State flag of Alabama. This suggestion was accepted by the school and the Archdiocese, and has now been completed.
McGill-Toolen is a Catholic High School, and, in accord with our belief in the dignity of every human person, we condemn all forms of racism, and teach our students to respect the dignity of every person, from conception to natural death. We are also proud of our record of providing an excellent academic education, as well as formation in faith, for all of our students, including many African-Americans. The flag in our lobby was never meant to recall or promote the Confederacy, or any of the other nations represented. It was and is a symbol of our pride in being part of the great City of Mobile, and we trust that the change in this painting will more clearly communicate our civic pride and our commitment to justice.
The flag is painted on the ceiling of the school’s foyer.
The petition, hosted by Change.org, has received almost 6,000 signatures in two days and is directed to the Archdiocese. The organizer wrote a statement on the petition page.
“At McGill-Toolen Catholic where we emphasize God’s love for everyone, we must not have a symbol of hate for ANYONE in the school, especially as one of the first things that someone might see when walking in. The confederate flag is a symbol of institutionalized hatred and systemic racism, which totally goes against our Catholic faith. It is important to make sure that our school not only preaches about love and inclusiveness, but also reflects these beliefs in our hallways. We must take every effort in our community to make sure that all of us live in an environment where we are all respected equally.”
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